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The Rock For Ronnie 2023 interviews with Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot

The Rock For Ronnie 2023 interviews with Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot

The Rock For Ronnie 2023 interviews with Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund ( returned to live events in a big way on Sunday, May 7 with its inaugural Rock For Ronnie Concert in the Park held at Los Encinos Historic Park in Encino. This first Rock For Ronnie, which sold out in advance, was a day of live rock music, silent and live auctions, food trucks and fun for the entire family, while raising awareness of the dreaded disease that has touched all of us in some way.

Highwire Daze caught up with Rudy Sarzo in the backstage area just right before his participation in the All- Star Jam for a short interview about his return to Quiet Riot and what it meant for him to be performing at the Rock For Ronnie event.  Read on…

We are here with Rudy Sarzo from the legendary Quiet Riot. So tell me, what does performing at Rock For Ronnie mean to you?
Well, I was Ronnie’s last Dio bassist. I played in the bands from 2004 until he passed away. So it means the world to me, because I learned so much from Ronnie at a time when I thought that I had been in the industry long enough to have learned everything I needed to learn. And then he taught me things that I couldn’t even imagine that they existed. You know, his musical integrity reminds me so much of what I learned from Randy Rhoads. It’s all about the music. Don’t let the business get in the way. When most artists were refusing to record, write new music because of the illegal downloading, Ronnie didn’t care. It was all about making music that’s creative.

What was your first Ronnie James Dio concert you attended?
Irvine. I would say the first Dio concert was definitely Irvine, 1984.

What has it been like to rejoin Quiet Riot again after all these years?
Well, it’s coming home you know. I’ve been in the band. I first joined the band in 1978, and then Randy left to join Ozzy. Then he got me in Ozzy after that in 1981, and then Randy passed away. And that took away from me the joy of making music. So I get a call from Kevin DuBrow inviting me to record on one song, Thunderbird, for what became the Metal Health record, while I was still a member of Ozzy, as a matter of fact, while I was on a break in LA waiting to go to New York to record Speak of The Devil, the Black Sabbath, re-recordings of the Ozzy era. And I went in and there’s Frankie Banali in the studio who I had a history of like ten years priors to us recording Thunderbird. We met to Florida, started playing locally, and then we moved to Chicago and came to LA in 1977, to try to make it. And we have been struggling ever since and here we are finally in the studio recording.

And there was Kevin, who I have been playing with him since the Randy Rhoads version of Quiet Riot. I also played with him in DuBrow. I was living with him until the day joined Ozzy. So we have a really great bond in history. And Carlos, I had just met, but I knew of him, from his band Snow. So, you know, it just brought back the joy of making music again, being in that room recording with Frankie and Kevin and my musical family with a long history. And then I did about four songs on that session, like Slick Black Cadillac. I knew that from the Quiet Riot Days, so we recorded that. And then a couple more songs that were actually DuBrow songs that I used to play with Kevin in DuBrow.

So Quiet Riot has always been my home. That collective consciousness of, there’s nothing else but the music that really matters to us in Quiet Riot. That’s our focus. We never talked about religion or politics or who was going out with who, girls, and stuff like that. It’s all about how we going to get a record deal and become professional musicians.

Describe that first show back with Quiet Riot after all these years.
I’ve been in the band, let’s see, the Randy Rhoads era, then the Metal Health era. Then in 1997 we reunited. And then now in 2021, I went back. It was more about me finding my way back home, tonally, sound wise, performance wise, because the guys were really together. I mean Alex Grossi has been in the band for over twenty years now. He was groomed by Kevin. Jizzy, who has a history coming from the Sunset Strip with his own band, Love/Hate. So he’s rooted in the same thing as Quiet Riot was, and Johnny Kelly, who was handpicked by Frankie. So these were guys who have been playing together for a bit before I came back. So, it was a matter of me finding my way back home and finding myself again, which by now I am.

Well, everyone’s glad to have you back, that’s for sure.
Well, I’m very glad to be back..

Are you involved with any other bands or projects right now?

What was it like playing in The Guess Who, it was like such an unusual pairing you and The Guess Who?
No. I mean, I grew up with that music. You know, that’s part of my…as a matter of fact, I played a lot of Guess Who songs during my high school years. To me, it was a very comfortable fit.

And what’s up next for you?
More Quiet Riot. We’re celebrating forty years of Metal Health this year in 2023. And just continuing. Keep going.

(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Linda Emord of EyeShutter4U)

Quiet Riot on Instagram
Rock For Ronnie Official Home Page

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